joy magnetism: October 2009

@Joymagnetism, now on Instagram!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Señorita, I feel for you*

Magnet #617 - Señorita Joy

Talk about creeeepy. Or, just a bad Photoshop job, honey.

Heh. Inside work joke.

A friend of mine brought this Spanish dancer back for me from Spain. Love her, even if she freaks me out because she's a little bobbleheady. (No, it's true. I'm not so good with the bobbleheads, it makes me bobble my own head.)

Just figured I'd use this to get into the Halloween mood. I'm supposed to be at a Halloween baby shower in NC today, but didn't make the ride down. Of course, this was the same couple that had a Halloween wedding reception. It was a great idea - they sorta-eloped with their parents and the priest, and then a month later, had a big costume party wedding reception. Genius.

That way, girls could wear their old bridesmaid dresses - my best friend wore my dress that I wore for her wedding. Wait. Is that weird? Maybe a little. I showed up as the wedding planner, in a business suit, clipboard, and lanyard and phones. Yay, 1st place. Of course, I'm sure it was rigged.

I rarely do the dress-up thing anymore, the last time I went allll out with any effort was as Jokey Smurf at Carolina. That's where we do it right - closing Franklin Street down and everyone running around unsober in costume. Really fun stuff. No real trick-or-treating, but that's what Nov 1st is for, to go buy the candy you half price.

Honestly, in my 14 years here in town, I've still not done the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. Dudes. I get freaked out in my cube in broad daylight. The thought of a million strangers in costume and trying to scare people? Scares me.

So, it's the Chocolate Show for me today. We'll see if they have a magnet.

*A la pretty boy JT. And no, not Sweet Baby James that went to Carolina in his mind. Though, there is something in the way he moves, too. Hahaha. See what I did there?

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Things that go bat in the night

Magnet # 616 - Indian Echo Caverns

The AGE10* bought me this Indian Echo Caverns magnet during their last Pennsylvania trip.

It's a cool magnet, even though the three of them know that caverns make me crazy with the scary "an earthquake could happen and kill me right here on this tour" thought.

Yeah, I don't know when it happened, but I've become a bit of a fraidy cat.

I think, mostly, it's because I'm hard of hearing, and people come up behind me in my cube, sometimes scaring the bejeepers out of me. Then again, one weekend, STWfiance arrived with a knock on my door. You know, the knock that usually indicates someone's at the door. Logically I knew that, and still when I opened the door and saw him darkening my doorway, I totally jumped out of my skin.

And don't even get me started on movies. The US version of The Ring? Do you know how many unmarked VHS tapes I have at home??? Yeah. That.

But, truly, the last time I was Cover my eyes, cover my eyes! scared was when we went to the Central Park Zoo, and into the rainforest pavilion. Dudes. Not only were the birds all free-range-y and flying around, but they had a whooole BATcave. A cave. Full of bats. Ummm, yeah, I hightailed my butt out of there.

The bats were probably ok. Really, it's the birds I totally can't stand.

Particularly pigeons, if you must know.

But that's just cuz a dead pigeon tried to kill me once.

Uh, yeah, that's totally a different magnet.

*AGE10. My new name for my two sisters, and the one sister's fiance. Made up of our last name, and his last name, combined with the fact that they live in the 20010 zip.
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Forever love - Guest blogger, Vampire Lover

Magnet #615 - Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake

Remember when I said that I was superdupertired of the whole vampire craze? Yeah, well, even though I can totally see the attraction to vampires, and I'm totally watching Vampire Diaries, I'm still thinking they're pretty much around every corner.

But, that's good! Especially since I was fortunate enough to meet Jocelynn Drake at NY ComicCon this year, and she was kind enough to give me magnets from her series. Woot!

Anyway, I'm in the middle of
Nightwalker, and thought that maybe it was time for you guys to hear from a vampire-loving friend of mine who is responsible for a lot of that stuff being out there.

Ready, set..
- joy

I love the paranormal. Vampires? Let me see those fangs. Shape shifters? Please. Manimal was one of my all time favorite TV shows.

Between the Twilight series, True Blood and Vampire Diaries, there seems to be no escaping these vampires. And even more books are being published that feature otherworldly creatures.

Jocelynn Drake, for instance, has her Dark Days series, featuring a vampire (also known as a Nightwalker) enforcer. Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress novels has a half-vampire battling evil. And let's not forget those sexy shapeshifters in Pamela Palmer's Feral Warrior series.

I have to say, though, vampires still remain my favorite species. A taste for blood aside, they have super strength, can see in the dark, and will love you forever. Forever!

Don't judge.


So. Weird. A Vampire Weekend. No, not the band.

The Paley's doing a whole weekend of screenings and panels: Dark Shadows at Twilight: A Paley Center Vampire Weekend, from Friday, Nov 13 to Sunday, Nov 15 - all around vampires.

Who is going. Me. And the chick who wrote this post.

I think she has to go for work. I just want to go because you know I loves me some panels. And this one's gonna be cool. Check it out. It's on their site.

Saturday Event, 2:30 to 4:00 pm
TV Vampire (s)Takedown

Our panel of expert fans will debate the relative merits of different vampires across media in an appropriately spirited and irreverent fashion. Special attention will be paid to the rankings of TV vamps determined by the Paley Center's TV Vampire Poll (vote through November 2). Come argue for your vamp of choice. Trivia, special gifts, and a bloody good time for all!

Angel Cohn, Senior Editor, Television Without Pity
Sammy Buck, Blogger,
Chelsea Doyle, Freelance Writer,
Jim Pierson, Author/Producer, Dark Shadows DVD releases
Moderator: Ken Tucker, Editor-at-Large, Entertainment Weekly

Free to Members and $10 (general admission) for nonmembers. Reservations are recommended. The first 200 ticket holders will receive fang-tastic vampire giveaways!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tiger father begets tiger son.*

Magnet #614 - Chibs from Sons of Anarchy

A friend of mine made this Sons of Anarchy magnet for me, because we're very worried about Chibs after he got blowed up a couple of weeks ago.

I can't believe we're already in the back half of season 2.

Storyline-wise, the systematic breakdown in the Club hierarchy and camaraderie has been fascinating to watch. The show has always blurred the line between gray and more gray, and it's been interesting to see where everyone's loyalties have been placed. The intensity hasn't let up - with each episode getting crazier and freakin' awesome, and more bad-ass than the one before.

Viewers are showing up for the show, too. Basic cable, and last week, they beat Leno.

I realize that I'm watching out of my demo. On so many levels. And yet, I don't care. it's rapidly become my only appointment TV of the week - which is saying a lot, given how much television I actually watch.

SoA's become not only a must-watch the night it airs, but a must-watch twice the night the night it airs.

That's just how damn good it is. Thanks, @sutterink!

And that's all I'm going to say. Don't want to spoil last night's kick-ass episode.

*- Chinese Proverb

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Check each column

Magnet #613 - National Building Museum

There's this interesting sentiment in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead (that I still haven't finished reading) about how Greek and Roman classical architecture has just been copied over and over again through the ages - in wood, in stone, in marble, and finally, steel and glass. The point being that there's no more originality in architecture.

This is not that magnetpost. After all, the same could be true of television and books and movies, and life, really.

I for one, am always caught between not knowing if I like the classical stuff, or the modernist stuff or the whatever stuff. I tend to just like some design, and some not. No rhyme or reason for my tastes, but most likely attributable to not having any architectural training or education in this stuff, as someone pointed out to me today.

Anyway, the National Building Museum is a particular favorite of mine. Besides the really great tour, it's just an awesome building to wander around in, and filled with such history.

It was designed by US Army Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs a couple of decades after the Civil War. Meigs modeled the exterior after Michelangelo's Palazzo Farnese, while the interior was after the Palazzo della Cancelleria, both of which are listed here. And the Corinthian columns were inspired by the ones in Michelangelo's church, Santa Maria degli Angeli. Whew. What a mishmash.

Still, it's totally one of the more interesting government buildings out there. It was the pensioners building! Can you imagine all the Civil War vets and civil servants filing in for their monies during the day, and then at night, the building being used for Washingtonian social gatherings?

The building spent years as a government building before being repurposed with a new life as the National Building Museum Yes. Repurposed. Unlike other buildings we know - crackheads who destroyed Penn Station, I'm looking at you. Now, it's a forum for all things, well, building. Exhibitions, collections, seminars, events, tours, discussions, the works.

From this magnet, you can see that they weren't joking calling this room the Great Hall - it's 316 feet x 116 feet, and like 159 feet at its pinnacle. You could play football games in here. For reals, yo. Well, ok, you'd have to ditch the 26-foot-fountain in the middle, but you catch my drift. Whoa.

Check out gigantor Corinthian columns in the forefront (see little people to the right?) and toward the back. They're 75 feet high! Eight feet in diameter! Twenty-five feet circumference! Seriously! Of course, I was surprised during the tour to see that it was just bricks...painted to look like marble. Wha?

I do love that on top of the Corinthians, there are 72 Doric columns on the ground floor, topped by 72 Ionic columns on the second floor.

This room always gives me a giggle, because it reminds me of the school project that I didn't do back in elementary school. I haven't the faintest why we were learning about Doric, Ionic and Corinthian Columns in elementary school, but I distinctly remember the three types of columns on posterboard - complete with knife-sharpened pencil guidelines, beautifully hand-lettered labels, painstakingly drawn detailed my dad.

What? It's not like I didn't learn the difference between all three of them. I did! I did!

Also? Thanks, Tatay!
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Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm looking over, a four-leaf clover

Magnet #612 - Fabergé Egg #4, Imperial Clover Egg

Yes, I'm writing this magnetblog as I'm watching U2's live streaming U 2ube concert. Good concert, actually.

I'm not even a giant U2 fan - I just like the idea of a live streaming concert around the world that everyone's watching online right now, that everyone's Tweeting about.

Plus, I like that they snaked the YouTube logo and made it U 2ube...and I like that Bono told The Edge that the concert would be on YouTube..."on Google." I dunno why that tickles me. And that Bono thanked their latest corporate sponsor Google. Heh. Check.

I can't wait to see the traffic numbers for the concert - worldwide. It's bound to be astronomical, though I wonder if it'll be a real source of revenue for them. @TVMoJoe Tweeted an article from The Wrap about how they're slow to show a profit on this tour, and it's fairly interesting to see how ticket sales are going. Particularly when half my FB newfeeds consist of my friends going to different US concerts.

But, back to my clovers. I totally admit using this particularly one is way cheesy - stereotypical, even. But even though I've been to Ireland - I don't have a second magnet from there!

So at my new love, the Clearance Store at the Met, I picked up the best find ever in that store - Susanna Pfeffer's Fabergé Eggs: Masterpieces from Czarist Russia. Half price!

Dudes, I freakin love this book. It goes through the whole series of eggs, with beautiful full-bleed beauty shots of each egg and their surprises! Really gorgeously done. You'd be surprised how much cooler this egg looks on a green background. Heh.

This Imperial Clover Egg was thought to have been given by Nicholas II to Alexandra in 1902, and is a beribboned bunch of three-petaled clovers made from a treasure trove of gold, diamonds, and rubies. Crazy beautiful. The surprise inside has been lost to history, but I'm gonna go with a four-leaf clover ring or brooch. Made of emeralds and diamonds and gold.

Yes. I just made that up. And I'm sticking with that.
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tastes great, less...wait, really?

Magnet #611 - Oxo with Milk ad

Ok. I just caught up on seven episodes of Mad Men. I know, I know - I'm usually pretty good when it's a show I really love, not just trying to get off my DVR. But I knew I'd want to concentrate while catching up.

And now I know about that John Deere episode that I've been la-la-la-ing with my fingers in my ears. In a word, ewwwww.

But, yay for being caught up.

And so I'd celebrate with this odd little ad magnet that I picked up at the cool Museum of Brands in London that I mentioned a while ago.

I picked it up because at night in London, off in the distance, you can see the giant well-lit letters of the OXO Wharf Tower on London's Southbank. It's had an interesting history, first as a power station, then as a cold storage center for OXO products, and finally, it's been rehabbed into a neat shopping/residential area. I didn't get to visit, but I did just learn that the letters aren't all neon-y, like regular building signs. The giant OXO are actually made out of windows, that are just lit through at night. How cool.

But, I also didn't understand the thing about OXO that "makes milk interesting." So I just looked it up. Classic ad, selling something that you just can't believe. OXO beef products. Apparently, they were suggesting that you mix these beef cubes...with milk. Uhhh, beef-flavored...milk?

Mind you, you're reading this blogpost from the chick who, at the age of 5, hid behind the counter to mix together milk and Pepsi like Laverne always used to do on Laverne & Shirley.

But, dang. I have my limits.
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Just remember the Red Bus valley

Magnet #610 - Glacier National Park Red Bus

Ya'll know how I have a habit of going to places, and missing the biggest things to do there? Like when I went to Dublin, and missed the Guinness tour? Or went to Philly and missed Benjamin Franklin's grave? Or when I went to New England and missed well, Vermont?

Yeah. Glacier National Park. Didn't do the Red Bus to travel the man-made, superamazing Going-to-the-Sun Road. I do kinda feel like a cheater with this magnet.

But, we did drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road - even saw a goat along the way. And a bear that was really a cow! But, we opted not to do the Red Bus. Mainly because we had rented a car (from the tackle shop!) for that part of our cross-country trip. So we skipped the Red Bus. Sigh.

And instead, ended up like 35 miles away from Canada, and making our way back in twilight and dark on some of the scariest (and most beautiful) roads ever. Scary. Especially when you're in the passenger seat with nothing but sheer drop-off to the ravines and canyons below.

It almost made me regret fulfilling the promise I made my grandmother years ago, about vising Montana before dropping everything and moving there.

Not too much regret though, because I did love Glacier Park Lodge, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Great Northern Railway built the lodge a century ago, when the west was still expanding, and people needed a place to stay along the way. Makes you wonder who else traveled the same rails. In our case, it was the same Amish guys on their rumspringa who shared the ride from Chicago, stayed in Montana, too, and then we saw them in Seattle (so. weird.). But I digress.

The Lodge. Loved it. The lobby was amazing, with its giant open atrium, and supercool gift shop where I bought one of the first magnets of this collection. The rooms were small and bunky. No television. The dining room and the food was terrific. Truly, this place was everything you'd expect from a lodge in Montana.

Well, I suppose if I did have to improve anything about the lodge...maybe have a television in the room. That's just unnatural right there.
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Made in....wherever has the best incentives, I guess

Magnet #609 - Made in New York

I love this logo. Seriously - I've kept their collateral pieces at my desk because of this logo. I've gone to seminars in Queens because of this logo.

So when I saw this magnet in Times Square on Julie Andrews Day, I was all over it! Then earlier this week, I saw this Crain's New York article about how the Made In NY program was struggling, I knew I had to use it! So here we are.

One of the best things I love about NYC is its shared devotion to the entertainment industry. I love that you can walk home to the subway and see three different productions shooting. I love that you can shoot New York for almost anything (except desert, I guess), as evidenced by many of Scouting NY's blogposts. I love that I can (try to) stalk George Clooney. I guess I just love that this little program, and the work they've done, seems to have fostered the entertainment community so well.

I remember when the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting first launched the program five years ago, and you could gradually see the tide turn as awareness grew. The results were amazing. More productions were coming to the state to take advantage of the tax credits, instead of heading abroad to Canada or the left coast or anywhere in between On the streets, production crews were everywhere. Production houses were hopping. At some point, the city had almost 35,000 shooting days! Whoa!

On the screens, big and little, you'd see more and more of this logo. For me, there was a little sense of awww, yay, that was done here!

And what genius, to brand the program with this little stamp. A cool little logo to make people aware the production they just saw was at least 75% produced in New York.

But the boon mic is staring to fall (see what I did there?), the program's out of money, budgets are being slashed, Albany's not sure if they want to extend the incentives even if their site says otherwise, and it's getting tougher to make the numbers work. The city's being forced to find things to start charging productions for, even charging for previously free permits, slowly but surely, making other cities seem more affordable.

The exodus already started. No more running into my Joshua Jackson's Fringe. (Ok, that was once. And then, not even me.)

I hate seeing us lose productions - the trickle-down effect is astounding - lost productions means lost production jobs, but also lost revenue for all the local businesses the productions frequent. Argh.

Fix it! Fix it! Fix it!

And while I'm dead serious about my Fix it plea, pay no attention to the fact that I'm still hoping to finally run into a George production on the streets.

What? I'm just saying. Fix it!

Huh. Ironic that I was writing this up while watching
White Collar, the new USA show that debuted tonight...shot right here in town. That's two for USA - along with Royal Pains. Yay for USA keeping its productions here.

Also? Sucked in. Me. Totally gonna be watching
White Collar. Well played, USA, well played. It's been a while since a show hooked me in from the pilot. And not just for the cuteboy!

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Isn't that nifty, look who's 50!

Magnet #608 - 50th Anniversary of the Guggenheim

Huh. I'm wondering if Guggenheim New York is the title holder of the Most House Museum Magnets Owned By Joy.

Sooo, yesterday the Gugg was free, in honor of its 50th anniversary! I didn't get to go, but a friend of mine did, and he picked up this (of course) niftily-designed magnet. LOVE. From what I understand, the lines and the crowds were insane. I'm not surprised, the admission's pretty steep, so every time they open for free, the lines are literally around the block.

I'm sad not to have gone up especially to see the new Kapoor. And the Kandinsky exhibit, which is supposedly one of the few multi-piece exhibitions happening nowadays.

I read this article in Crain's New York Business that talked about how grand museum exhibitions are slowly falling to the wayside. It kinda makes me sad. It's great fun being able to see several works from one artist or oeuvre, all in one place. It's condensed knowledge and culture and genius in the confines of a few rooms.

I suppose I get it. The costs are prohibitive, indeed, several thousands just to insure one painting from one museum, let alone multiple pieces from multiple museums. And frankly folks aren't as willing to pony up the $20 for admission, and the extra $7 for the audio tour, all to have to wade through cramped spaces of humanity to squint from afar and between heads.

Ok, ok. I do get it. But I will miss it.

In the meantime, I can totally make do with seeing Vermeer's Milkmaid (twice!), and others of his oeuvre. Totally planning to do the MoMA's Monet exhibition - which is just their own Water Lilies in a while new room. And then, totally back to the Gugg, for the Kandinsky. I swear!
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Frank's for the memory

Magnet #607 - The New Yorker Visits the Guggenheim, by Charles E. Martin

Oh, yeah. That pun was just for DCsis. And also, because it was just begging to be said.

Today in 1959, Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim opened for business!

To celebrate, admission is free! All day! Woot!

It's a work day! Boo!


Happy birthday, anyway, Guggenheim New York!

Actually, reading that article I linked to above, I totally have to go at some point, because they're unveiling Memory, a new work from Anish Kapoor - he's the guy that did the reflecty eggy in Chicago's Millennium Park, and the reflecty disc-y thing in Rockefeller Center a few years ago.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"The fruits of accomplishment"*

Magnet #606 - Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)

Poor Herbert Hoover. He was president during the 1929 stock market crash and the start of the Great Depression.

Whether you're Hoover or Roosevelt, or you're Bush or Obama, sometimes I feel world leaders often take the rap for more than they should - good and bad. After all, they're surrounded by dozens of people (elected and appointed) helping make the decisions that land us in various places and situations in history. And only history will be able to tell the full story.

So, I kinda feel bad for Hoover, who is more often than not, remembered for Hoovervilles, and all the negative stuff about his presidency, even though his fairly nonpartisan .gov write-up said he "brought to the Presidency an unparalleled reputation for public service as an engineer, administrator, and humanitarian."

Even the Smithsonian, who has this portrait of him, said that he seemed to be the "the ultimate problem-solver" and goes on to say that he's the only president that didn't make the cover of TIME while in office. That makes me sad for him.

Especially because he had to live another 30 years knowing it! That's why I picked him for today - today in 1964, he passed away here in NYC, at the age of 90. I will say that this presidential portrait reminds me of a much more debonair Dick Van Patten (as seen here from My Kind of New York) in Eight is Enough.

*From Hoover's inaugural speech:

Ours is a land rich in resources; stimulating in its glorious beauty; filled with millions of happy homes; blessed with comfort and opportunity. In no nation are the institutions of progress more advanced. In no nation are the fruits of accomplishment more secure. In no nation is the government more worthy of respect. No country is more loved by its people. I have an abiding faith in their capacity, integrity and high purpose. I have no fears for the future of our country. It is bright with hope.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

I want! I want!

Magnet #605 - William Blake's I want! I want!

It feels like everyone knows William Blake for his romantic poetry. At least, that's how I know him. And then, it's really only a cursory knowledge.

So yesterday, when I saw this magnet in the little shop, I was honestly surprised to find out that it was a Blake engraving done in 1793. And then this morning, I learned a little more about Blake being a professional engraver.

Annnnd that's about where my knowledge ends. I tried to skim The Engravings of William Blake by Archibald G. B. Russell, uploaded on Google Books. Tried anyway.

As much as I want to do a tutorial on my newfound Blake knowledge, and what he was hoping to convey with this engraving, I think I shall opt out for a more literal translation. Lord knows, I could have totally made this a rather maudlin magnetpost about climbing up the ladder to the crescent moon to get what I want.

But I won't. Besides, the whole reason I ended up buying it is because that's pretty much all I did yesterday walking around New Haven and its various museum shops.

Pointing at magnet displays and saying, "I want! I want!"

That magnet. And the seven others I picked up yesterday.

Stop. I see you judging me!

Actually, yesterday was a terrifically fun (if soggy day) wandering around Yale and their Center for British Art, and their Art Gallery. Both buildings were designed by one of the leading architects of last century - Louis I. Kahn - who taught at Yale in the 40s/50s.

Both buildings were pretty cool. According to the site, the Center for British Art was his last building, and one of the first U.S. museums to take into consideration retail space.

Huh. I knew there was another reason I loved the building. I mean, aside from the great museum design and exhibition displays and great lighting design and the collection and the...yeah.
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

OH in Sleepy Hollow: That Headless Horseman's kinda hot.*

Magnet #604 - Sleepy Hollow, NY

Yes, it exists. Yes, they totally renamed North Tarrytown to Sleepy Hollow, NY, back in '97.

They say "in honor of" Washington Irving's Legend of, but really, it was to help add to the commercial viability of the area.

Actually, Sleepy Hollow's just one of many locations under the Historic Hudson Valley domain, an organization which has managed to keep me coming back a few times over the last several years.

So, that whole Sleepy Hollow renaming thing seems to have worked out well!

After all, who doesn't want to visit Sleepy Hollow to check out where the Headless Horseman rode? Or visit Sleepy Hollow Cemetery? According to my friends who went yesterday and bought this magnet for me (yay!), everyone's interred there! People like Andrew Carnegie to Elizabeth Arden - that place is like the Hollywood Forever cemetery of the east. Creepy!

Well, it was probably creepier there than the Legend Nights at Philipsburg Manor, that I mentioned yesterday. Remember? It was the "wander the mysterious grounds and interact with witches, pirates, and spooky apparitions" thing?

Ummm, yeah. I hate to say it, because I know all those performers out in the cold, and the organizers, probably worked their hearts out on Legend Nights. I think we just had our expectations a little high.

I know I was on maximum scare alert for the hours leading up to it - and not just because a seven-year-old promised me she'd scare me before the night was up. But, we really thought it was going to be superduper scary. Well, I did, anyway.

In the end, me, the fraidy cat wasn't scared at all. It probably had more to do with the disenchanted, mocking teenagers behind me mocking the ghosties in the barn, than anything else. Obviously, the nights are definitely a family-friendly, kid-focused night out.

I was a little sad not to be able to hear the tale of Ichabod Crane as told by Jonathan Kruk. I think had we been able to start at the beginning, I would have loved to watch and listen. But, he was the first stop, after a hike around the lanterned lake, and the most crowded. So, we pushed forward.

There were random ghosties hanging in the barn and some scary ghosties over water. And random pirates and witches and I think lanterned Tories. (Or maybe they were pirates, too?)

But the highlight of the night was the pasture where a penned up Headless Horseman (two, actually) was riding with his jack o'lantern in hand. That was actually kinda cool, especially when he'd appear from the far end of the pasture and come galloping right up to the fence.

So, I suppose the evening was a success - after all, we did see the Horseman ride. A few times.

Though, I'm still puzzling over how my friend thinks that the Headless Horseman's kinda hot.
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's the Great Pumpkin blaze, Charlie Brown!

Magnet #603 - Jack O'Lantern Blaze

Fun. The most fun you can have with pumpkins (real and fake) and some lights.

We went to the Jack O'Lantern Blaze a couple of years ago, and it's grown over the last five years. Always a sell-out, and they're up to something like 4,000 hand-carved pumpkins!

It's kinda like the Christmas lights in Tanglewood, only here, you're on foot, walking down a darkened path from one Jack O'Lantern display to another.

Outside. In the dark. With scary sound effects.

I'm not gonna lie. I was a tiny bit creeped out, despite the fact that we had a little five-year-old running around with us.

What? Pay attention. I said:

Outside. In the dark. With scary sound effects.

Which makes me kinda worried about tonight.

Tonight, we're going to Legend Nights. It's the part where we're going to "wander the mysterious grounds and interact with witches, pirates, and spooky apparitions." Freaky.

I just know I'm gonna get freaked out. Something's gonna come out from behind and scare the pants off of me.

It won't help that at some point, I'll be holding the hand of a seven-year-old, either. She's probably going to be having the time of her life. Watching me run away from scary creatures will provide all the entertainment she'll need.

I'm just sayin.

Outside. In the dark.

And I'll be the scary sound effects.
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Not yet!

Magnet #601 - Hawaii

I've done several magnetposts on Hawaii - it's so weird how many magnets I have from there, considering I've never been!

And no offense to our 50th state, but I'm not a huge fan of islands. Mostly because of the sun, surf, and sand - nope, not a beachgoer, am I.

Yet, here we are.

My sister gave me this supercool retro Hawaii travel poster, and I'm using it today because right now, I kinda want to be there right now.

Because right now, on the 15th of October, at 5:40pm, it's flippin' 40 damn degrees!



What the heck, man?

I mean, I love winter as much as the next person, but it is way too early for it to be snowing anywhere. That's just insane.

And from what I hear, it's supposed to be a supercold winter. I'm not entirely sure what happened to Global Warming, and yet. Here. We. Are.

Not yet, Old Man Winter! Not! Yet!
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

600 days later...

Magnet #600 - Joy in New York


Like ya'll didn't think I'd use a joy magnet today.

Happy 600th magnet to me!
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Not just desserts

Magnet #599 - The Big E

It's National Dessert Month, ya'll. And even though I can find no corporate sponsor online who is underwriting a Dessert Festival nearby, I'll have my own dessert festival.

Behold. Desserts.

C'mon. Dessert. Who doesn't love dessert? (Except my CEO who apparently hasn't had dessert in three whole years, and whom I've made my personal pet project to get him to violate that claim.)

Ice cream. Chocolate. Cakes. Chocolate. Cookies. Chocolate. Pies. Chocolate. Creams. Chocolate.

Did I mention chocolate?

I've been known to go out of my way for anything sweet, and one of the best places to get a big ole cream puff is up at the Big E in New England.

It's basically like a state fair, but with a concentration on the goods, services and products of the northeastern states, including this supercool magnet that could probably hurt someone if hurled.

But the Big E is something that everyone should visit. Particularly if you're in driving distance. So. Cool.

And I don't mean just for the big midway with all the rides and the oddly interesting and fun individual state exhibits, and the animals, and the tables and tables of crafts I'll never be able to make.

But the food.

All that fried and smothered whatever crap that no one ever lets you eat in open society without judging you. The corn dogs. The Tums. The sausages with onions and peppers. The Tums. The candy apples. The Tums. The cream puffs. The Tums. The blooming onions. The Tums. The fried seafood. The Tums. The ice cream. The Tums. The giant turkey legs.

Wait. Did I mention the Tums? Seriously, Tums should underwrite all state fairs. They need to get on that.

Gravy. If you guys knew the amount of crappy food we consumed that day at the Big E, you'd totally be grossed out. I mean, we drove for a couple of hours to get there. We had to make it worth our while. Hello.

You know what, though? I don't care.

Everyone knows that fair food has no calories!
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Island of lies

Magnet #598 - Shakespeare's Macbeth

Last month, Scouting NY, one of my favorite bloggers blogged about The Archaeological Dig at Governors Island.

The second I saw his fabulous pictures, I was totally intrigued. A whole underground city that was buried? How could I not know about this? Why weren't more people upset that a whole city was just buried away? Why would it be archaeologists from Belgium digging up the sand? Why?

I knew I had to visit. My sisters agreed, and we planned it for Open House NY, the last chance we'd have before they closed for the season. Everyone was excited to go.

Then, very late Friday night, after everyone was asleep, I went back to Scout's blog, and stumbled on this story he posted a couple days after.


I quietly freaked out, while the rest of the room snored away in ignorant bliss. As I posted on his site, I realized I had a choice. I could tell everyone with me the truth. Or keep my mouth shut to see if they were taken in. So funny, because I started second-guessing my sister, wondering (enough to ask) if she'd read Scout's follow-up story. She hadn't.

So, off we went. We took the ferry across the way, and joined a really good National Parks tour with effervescent and green Gummy-bear-like Ranger Lisa. Then we headed off to The Archaeological Dig on the west side of the island.

We were excited, reading the interesting and very well-designed and -branded signs and articles leading up to the ticket booth.

We were more than happy to fork over the $5 to the girl who giggled when I said the branding/identity was really well done.

We were thrilled at the idea of getting to wear branded gear - supercool hard hats and superbright fluorescent safety vests!

We paid rapt attention to the pretty nicely designed exhibit space, where we learned about the town of Goverthing.

We were grossed out to learn that Goverthing was overrun by superscary birds with uncontrollable and excessive bowel movements - enough to make a tin-umbrella'd fork and a scrotum-protector necessary.

We were horrified when we learned that the threat of an electrical storm might ignite that excessive bird droppings build-up was the reason the town was evac'd and sanded over.

We were freaked out when we got to visit the dig itself - with its partially excavated snowglobe factory, gas station, chimneys and church steeples.

We ran around from place to place, pumping water from the half-buried water tower, ringing the steeple bells, spinning the windmills to beckon the birds.

We quizzed the volunteers about how big they thought the houses were, and other bits of history.

And finally, when we left, with a $7 snowglobe and $2 duck-caller in hand, we read the final batch of corporate sponsor signs.

As we walked away, I looked suspiciously at DCsis and STWsis and STWfiance, because I couldn't tell if they'd fallen for it. Though toward the end, they started to see through the lies (questioning the soil levels, the chimney sizes, like why a weird statue that was supposed to be at the top of a building, had a hand you could shake to upend the snowglobe in his other hand), but they didn't ever really catch on that it was an art installation.

When I told them it was a hoax, they didn't believe me.

They couldn't believe that they'd been lied to in such a manner - by the Dig and by me.

They felt cheated, that they'd been made to care about this little lost enclave, with its oddly rich history of snowglobes and military evacuations, and torrid affairs with scandalous outcomes and missing songbird mistresses.

As Scout says, they never break character anywhere, admitting that it was an art installation rather than an actual dig. I almost wish I hadn't known, because it would have been interesting to see us all get hoodwinked. I wonder how long it would have taken before we learned the truth.

But, you have to admit there's something deviously clever about taking in a bunch of folks, some of whom are probably telling their friends and family about the cool dig over there.

Man. The three of them were so pissed and disappointed.

Yeah. I totally paid for that little excursion to the Island of Lies. Probably always will.
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Not your grandaddy's Times Square

Magnet #597 - Times Square

So, while the rest of the gang are doing the Intrepid that I did a couple of weeks ago, I decided to take the laptop for a walk to get some work done here.

No. I mean, literally. Here. In Times Square. Smack in the middle of what used to be Broadway. On the lawn chairs in front of the ESPNZone, with their free wifi (Thanks!). With the tourists.

The blogosphere has been full of NY locals who are ticked off about the former Crossroads of the World becoming Disneyland. Even though I'm kinda having a blast, the naysayers aren't entirely wrong. From where I sit this second, there's:

Fake pedestrian malls with red pavement and oases of gravelly walkways with red chairs and tables.

Spongebob, Dora and Elmo, scamming tourists for pictures. Please tell me someone's getting licensing money for that.

Sidewalk vendors with easily cartable food or funny drawings for sale.

Giant signs with lots of moving lights.

Screaming kids in double-wide strollers, being pushed by frustrated parents.

Cameras are ubiquitous, with people getting pushed out of the way to get that Kodak moment.

Actually, the only thing we're really missing in Times Square are rides.

But hell, take a cab to get here. That'll complete the experience.

(I'm totally gonna talk about this magnet, but later, when I have more than 18% battery left, and the rest of my advertising creative brief left to write. Eeep. Publish Post! Publish Post!)

Found it. According to Gothamist, this magnet image is Rudy Burckhardt's
Times Square at Dusk in 1947. I'm sad I missed the Glitz & Grime photography exhibition at the Yancy Richardson Gallery that ended just last month. Seems like for every cool thing I know to do in the city, there's always a few more that I end up missing, too.

Sigh. Isn't that always the way?

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Whatever STWfiance wants, STWfiance gets

Magnet #596 - New York, New York

Another magnet from @KristinaMyers' Etsy store. I ended up buying a whole set of these map location magnets. I could get in trouble figuring out more and more places to request, but I do love them so.

DCsis and STWsis and STWfiance are in town this weekend, so that STWfiance can finally play tourist. This is opposed to the usual running around town, but never really getting to see anything.

Now, we're gonna try and jam pack the weekend, end to end with everything like Governors and Roosevelt Island, the Intrepid, Central Park Zoo, the Met, and who knows what else I'm forgetting.

Yep. It's gonna be a challenge, I think, with 18 of 27 subways undergoing major repairs this weekend, plus the Avon walkers.

But hey, ya'll know I love playing tourist! Yay for the best city in the world!
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Friday, October 9, 2009

Awareness. Not just a ribbon. Not just PR.

Magnet #595 - Pink Ribbon

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

You'd think that since I'm in communications, that I'd totally be jaded by all these PR awareness programs. And I am.

Even so, I can never stop myself from being swayed by most awareness campaigns. It's too important not to be swayed in some way, shape or form.

To wit: There's a habit that I picked up from a former colleague whose mother is a breast cancer survivor. I tend to pick up little things pink. Put a pink ribbon on it, put them at the check-out counters. I'm there.

It starts with Papermate's Write for Hope pens and the Unite to Fight pens from Staples checkout. And continues with the Pepperidge Farm Milanos with their Inspiration for the Cure pink packaging, sitting on my dining table at home. And the half dozen pink-lidded Save Lids to Save Lives Yoplaits in my fridge. And of course, this magnet.

Oh, there's more. But, really. It's only October 9. Early days, yet.

Are these awareness campaigns just corporate social responsibility efforts? Absolutely, yes.

Should we do this all year round and not just for special months? If budgets can support it, yes.

Do they make a difference in purchasing decisions? For me, apparently, yes.

Does they raise awareness and make a difference for the charities? Unequivocally, yes.

So, in honor of awareness, and hopefully making a difference, just a few more efforts on my cancer awareness radar listed below.
I know I'm missing a ton, and I know I'm concentrating only on a few cancers, and I know there are more charities out there to support.

Feel free to post them in the comments.
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Make new friends, but keep away from mine

Magnet #594 - Angry Little Girls' Parental Seal of Disapproval

Man. I swear, I thought I'd be using this magnet for when I screwed up something big enough to have my mommy yelling at me, much like this ALG magnet. (BTW, hurry up and start selling magnets for your little shop, already!)

Instead, I find myself channeling my mother, and grandmother and well, pretty much everyone's mother with this post.

I'm the oldest of something like 30-odd grandkids, just on my maternal side - that's pretty much every age between 36 years to 6 months. A pretty darn wide gap.

Truth be told, I've never even met half of these cousins. I'm friends with them on Facebook. That's some of the beauty of Facebook - being able to connect with relatives on some level or another, artificial or not, having met in real life or not. It's nice just knowing that we all share blood, linked by my maternal grandparents.

Being the oldest comes with a self-imposed mantle of obligation to somehow police all these kids, in the absence of their unwitting parents.

It's a sore point for me, making sure my gorgeous but wayward cousins aren't posting untoward pictures or videos of themselves that paint them in a skeevy light. And, I have to close my eyes when other cousins say things that are pretty damned offensive, given we're minorities, too.

Sometimes it works. Most times, it doesn't.

Honestly? If you don't care what sexy-sexy pictures or vids you're posting and allowing access to. That's on you. After all, it's not my mother hanging out on Facebook.

Where I draw the line, is rock-solid stupidity. Not being safe. Inviting trouble. Going through my friend list and randomly friending my friends, causing them to all contact me and ask me who you are.

Hey. You. They're not your friends. Why are you friending people you've never even met? Why are you giving them access to all your personal information and sexy-sexy pictures? And p.s., no offense to my own friends, but while I'm pretty good about friending only people I know, just because they're friends of mine, does not make them, or their friends, or their friends' friends, automatically safe for you.

On top of that, it was to spam them with some obnoxious free web offer? Unacceptable. (And damned if that's not other magnet somewhere about social networking best practices. I'm only grateful that you didn't friend my coworkers, because then I'd be even more embarrassed.)

So, look here, my nearly 30 cousins sitting up here on Facebook, you don't have to be my friend. Block me. Unfriend me.

But know that I'm done being mom. I'm done being grandma. I can't even be your Ate, really, given that half of you haven't even met me, and don't know me from jack.

You're all old enough to be on Facebook, so ya'll freakin' watch your own damn six on the net.

I'm getting a little flak for being a little too harsh. Honestly, it's meant to be. It's easier than sending out an individual apology note to every one of my friends.

Ok. Now I'm getting a lot of Anonymous flak below for being a crappy cousin. Really, Anonymous? Really?

You think it's ok to post half-naked pictures of yourself, so that friends and family can say, yes, that chick's getting laid tonight, and ooooh, I must get a life like her?

You think it's right to use racially offensive language, when you yourself are a minority?

You think it's right to go out of your way to friend everyone on your friend's friend list, causing everyone to wonder who the hell is this chick?

You think it's right to abuse someone else's social network to spam them with crap like a "new Free Website where they can earn when they shop"?

Or, maybe you think it's none of my business. Well, you have me there. They're not my kids. But they're my aunts' and uncles' kids.

That's why I've had interventions via email and via U.S. Opens. That's why I posted this post. So that if something happens to any of my cousins, I can look my parents and their parents right in the eye and say, yes, I knew what they were doing. Yes, I tried to help.

By the way, Anonymous. Just because you posted anonymously doesn't mean I couldn't see you guys hanging out, and for how long.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This bear cares!

Magnet #593 - Tenderheart Care Bear

One thing about growing up with sisters five and eight years younger than you, is that you end up living with not just your beloved childhood characters, but their beloved childhood characters as well.

It's arguably one of the best things, as well.

It's probably why I have a "slightly older for that demo who should have stopped loving them by now" affection for Strawberry Shortcake, the Smurfs, the Snorks, the Muppet Babies, Chip N' Dale Rescue Rangers, the Shirt Tales and of course, the Care Bears.

Who doesn't love a good old-fashioned Care Bear Stare? And from Tenderheart Bear! He likes to give hugs, and make people realize that they actually care about things. That helps love grow. And spread across the land. And makes everything A-ok.

Well, that's what this Care Bears Official Handbook sitting in my lap says. What? You think I'm kidding? You're reading this magnetpost, aintcha?

I figured joy magnetism could do with a little visit from the caring-est bear in Care-a-lot. My middle sister must have thought so, too, since she's the one who sent this Tenderheart magnet my way. Hee. Thanks. Who would have thought a tiny magnet could make me feel better.

Mind you, that long list of 80s cartoons I listed up there? Just the tip of the iceberg, man.

Don't ask how many times I had to avoid little girls running around sporting bandannas and nun chucks made out of cardboard paper towel rings and socks screaming Turtle Power!!!!

Or how many times I had to hear Jem! Truly outrageous! Truly, truly outrageous!

Not to mention I! Have! The Power!!!!!!!

Hmmm. That baby sister who loved He-Man? Getting married in November. Now I'm starting to wonder if that's why we have brown sleeveless bridesmaid dresses.
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Shining, shimmering splendor

Magnet #592 - Jasmine

Ah. The last of this particular Disney Princesses magnet set.

I wanted something happy for today. And you can't get any happier than a happy Disney Princess.

So, yay for happy Jasmine from Aladdin.

Right about now, I could use a happy, if somewhat annoying, magic genie in a bottle. And not the Christina Aguilera kind. Hell, I'd probably take the monkey, too.

Anyway, to recap: Nothing happier than the circle of Disney Princesses below. And if I use the word happy enough times, maybe I'll kick this bad, ticked-off and rather disgusted mood in the shins.

Huh. How'd that pink glittery apple get there. Wasn't Snow's apple red?


What? That's right. Next, I'll be spitting over my left shoulder, and walking in a counterclockwise circle three times backward.

Or. Coffee.

Or. Mountain Dew.

Those usually work.
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Monday, October 5, 2009

Time is my friend

Magnet #591 - Broadway, NYC

Today is Julie Andrews Day! Yes. I just made that up. For kicks. Because I can.

She did a sit-down Q&A over at the Paley Center tonight, and tonight was so lovely, I had to stop and pick up a magnet to mark the occasion.

Can I tell you? This is why I love living in New York.

Where else can you sit and watch a veritable legend in the entertainment industry get interviewed by an old pal (the lovely Paley CEO Pat Mitchell), and see fabulous highlights of Ms. Andrews' television work in various dramas and variety shows, and of course, the Julie Andrews Hour. I say of course, because the "out of my demographic again" audience totally knew the show, and remembered the "Time is my friend" signoff number, written by her.

I will say that I had chills and a couple of tears seeing her vintage performances with the likes of Sammy Davis, Jr., Harry Belafonte, Gene Kelly, Carol Burnett, and Richard Burton. (Dudes, I had no idea she and Carol are likethis. Like Carol's godmother to one of her kids. Seriously. Did ya'll know this?)

And how fun it was to see actual little-seen footage of her Sullivan Show Camelot performances with Burton, who she spoke of fondly. (Footage kinda like this, but one of the other numbers. There was dancing! Hee. So cute! And pre-Liz Burton looks so damn light and happy. It's weird.)

But perhaps the most surprising thing for me, was hearing that she and her daughter are prolific authors. Indeed, she's released more than 20 childrens' books under the Julie Andrews Collection umbrella. I. Had. No. Idea. You learn something every day.

Speaking of learning was a craptastic day, and I knew from the moment I left the house it would be. And I know I put a lot of stock into Julie Andrews Day making me feel better. In fact, I had a whole different post written up for today, and it was not a good one.

But, I decided to wait til tonight to see if some of Julie Andrews' patience and grace would rub off on me.

It was delightful to see that the aura of Julie Andrews did not disappoint. She's everything you'd expect Julie Andrews to be.

But the best part about Julie Andrews? She swears more than I would have thought.

And you know what? That couldn't make me love Julie Andrews any damn more.

Thanks for a lovely evening, Julie!

I should say that most of what I've linked here is from various sources on YouTube. But honestly, if you're here in town and have some spare time - ya'll should check out the Paley Center's Media Collection.

Basically, you go in and search for whatever show you're looking for since the dawn of broadcast, and if they have it (it's not often that they don't, really), then you go into the cubicles and listen/watch the show.

It's quite amazing the collection that they've amassed. And such wonderful work they're doing, keeping it available for us to experience.
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

I recall, Central Park in fall

Magnet #590 - Central Park

Fall's a fabulous time of year in New York, and especially in Central Park.

Much as I hate being outdoors, I do like wandering around Central Park. It's one of the few places in the city, where you can pretend you're not really in the city. Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux sure knew what they were doing when they turned farmland and forests into parkland and playgrounds back in the 1800s.

At 843 acres, it's one of the largest urban parks in the world, and completely man-made. You can Imagine there's no heaven at Strawberry Fields, you spend hours rambling around the Ramble. You can check out the views way up high from Belvedere Castle, or check out the low views of turtles sunning themselves on the shores of the Turtle Pond. You can watch wedding photo shoots at Bethesda Fountain, or you can watch the fun roller dancers just up the way. You can choose between the reservoir and the zoo, the great lawn and the playgrounds, the carousel and the dairy (where I picked up this magnet), the bandshell and the rink.

You can play chess, you can run, you can skate, you can play tennis, you can play softball, you can ride a horse, you can ride a bike, you can row a boat, you can float a boat...I honestly don't think it's possible to do the park in a day.

The best part about the park, is that you just never know what's around the corner. Of course, unless you're paying attention to the numbers on the lampposts, sometimes you just never know which corners you're on.

Still, my favorite rides through Central Park are in the early morning - usually in a cab - in the dead of winter after snowfall. The park is transformed into a magical wonderland - when the quiet lamplight bounces off the pristine white surfaces and there's not a soul in sight.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

If these walls could talk

Magnet #589 - Detail of Teaplate, by Caughley of Shropshire, c. 1790

I took the bus to the hinterlands of London to visit the Geffrye Museum to see their Christmas through the ages exhibition, where they basically redress their Living Rooms exhibit into a Christmas theme. It's fascinating.

The museum design itself has a unique design element of peering through a keyhole, and you really do get to peek into the past. While I'm not a furniture and textiles junkie, I really enjoyed walking through the long corridor of the historic house, where they section off each century's living rooms, showing you a cool glimpse into the past.

Whether it was the Jane Austen-esque room, or the Jane Jetson-esque room, you can almost imagine the family that lived there, the clothes they wore and the lives they led. Having them dressed for Christmas, you can see foods they served, the decorations they used, when they started using trees. Loved it. And, if you can't make it there - they have a cool little virtual tour.

What's cool is that the Geffrye did a fantastic job of merging the old almshouses with the new facilities. As you walk through the centuries, you sense modernity right around the corner and through the doors - literally. By the time you get to the newer wing of the museum you're not time-shocked.

As with every museum I end up going to, I wish I'd had more time to enjoy it. But, I did pick up this lovely magnet - a detail of a porcelain teaplate, made in about 1780, by Caughley Pottery, on the banks River Severn near Ironbridge, Shropshire.

Lord, that cuteboy Paul from Cash in the Attic has taught me so much. Well, not really, but I can Google pretty good. Actually, what's fascinating is that there are pieces like this scattered all over the UK, little pieces of porcelain that are practically older than the United States.

Handed down generation to generation - if these pieces, or even these rooms, could talk, what wonderful stories they could tell.
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Friday, October 2, 2009

Damn Stanley! - Guest blogger, Gloriana

Magnet #588 - Richard III (r. 1483-1485)

When I started this blog, I worried about being able to do justice to this set of the Kings and Queens of England. Especially for a monarch as pivotal as Richard III.

When I started inviting guest bloggers, I realized I knew only one person who could do the job - my friend, Gloriana.

Enjoy! And thanks, glor!
- joy

As a card-carrying member of the Richard III Society, I was overjoyed when joy asked me to guest blog on this magnet in honor of Richard III's 557th birthday.

Meet Richard.

Or at least meet what we think Richard III might have looked like. Though this is the "official" portrait hanging in National Portrait Gallery and the one that adorns countless book covers (and magnets), no one's entirely sure that it's actually right.

The only surviving portraits of Richard III were painted long after his death, and subsequently altered by later generations. X-rays show us that his shoulders have been thrown off-kilter to suggest a hunchback, his eyes have been narrowed, his mouth made thinner. It's the Tudor version of evil Photoshop.

We're all told that history is written by the winners, and the changes to Richard's portrait would seem to be the perfect example. In the years after Lord Stanley changed sides to crown Henry Tudor at Bosworth (damn Stanley!), the Tudors executed a smear campaign, paying off historians and painting over portraits to systematically craft an image of a dead rival deformed both in body and character. Thanks to William Shakespeare - backed by the sainted Thomas More - Richard seemed doomed to be remembered forever as the ultimate wicked uncle, a deranged, murdering hunchback screaming for a horse. Winter of discontent, indeed.

And yet, from beyond the grave, Richard struck back. Fueled in part by Josephine Tey's 1951 detective novel, The Daughter of Time, the Fellowship of White Boar has grown by leaps and bounds over the last century. The Richard III Society now claims more than three thousand members in more than twenty countries. (General meeting of the U.S. branch scheduled for October 10th in Las Vegas, and, yes, I do have an invitation.)

That's more than three thousand people worldwide devoted to clearing a man's name 500 years after the fact. As the current Duke of Gloucester, the Society's patron, explains, "The purpose and indeed the strength of the Richard III Society derive from the belief that the truth is more powerful than lies - a faith that even after all these centuries the truth is important."

Today the battle for Richard's reputation rages on. Depending on the current historical vogue and your historian of choice, Richard may be depicted as the perfect Plantagenet prince cut down tragically in battle (damn Stanley!), an able yet ruthlessly ambitious man of his time, or the embodiment of all evil. Posthumously, Richard's been put on trial for the murder of his nephews, the fabled Princes in the Tower, multiple times in multiple settings. He's been acquitted by no less a personage than the Chief Justice of the United States. Twice.

Despite these victories, the truth of Richard remains much like his portrait. Five hundred years, some expertly coordinated mud slinging, and many fervent Ricardians later, we can never really be sure what Richard even looked like, let alone the kind of man he was. The available historical sources tend to be hopelessly biased and somewhat less than credible. (Would you choose to believe a guy who thinks women can be pregnant for two years?) It's a little like someone in 2509 trying to reconstruct today's events using nothing but TMZ's twitter and three or four blogs with widely divergent viewpoints.

Hopeless, in other words.

Which means that it becomes up to the individual to decide who Richard is to them. What kind of man do you see staring out from his portrait? And how far do you think he would go for power?

For my own part, I'll say only this: Damn Stanley.
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